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Despite what you might think, it’s not that easy to pack up a 105-member orchestra, complete with instruments and wardrobe, and move them approximately 12,500 miles in three weeks time.
It's especially tricky when you consider the fact that the orchestra is taking a staged production – John Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary – to four cities on two continents, in addition to its more expected orchestral fare such as Stravinsky’s Firebird and Debussy’s La mer.
Let’s just say it involves a lot of planning, quite a few road cases and one very long night for the road crew.
The orchestra played its last performances of The Gospel at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Sunday, MAR 10 – but, since the piece was being recorded, Gustavo and the orchestra stuck around after the performance ended for a “patch session,” during which time the recording engineers had the orchestra re-record parts of the piece that might have been garbled in the recording process. That means the orchestra couldn’t pack its instruments and the crew, under the direction of LA Phil Production Director Paul Geller and Production Manager Jeff Wallace, couldn’t start loading the big LA Phil truck until around 7pm. Oh - and there was the little matter of James O'Donnell's organ recital that started at 8:30pm, so at least some of the crew had to be on hand to make sure THAT went smoothly.
Sometime after midnight, the final cases were loaded onto the truck and it, along with the road crew, left for LAX to begin the long journey to Amsterdam – the closest airport to London that can handle the cargo – at the early, early hour of 5:00am.
And that’s just the crew and equipment. The orchestra leaves in three groups over the next three days. Now that’s a lot of moving parts.
Safe travels, orchestra and crew!